For the last couple of years my brother Jon has created a few top ten lists at the end of the year regarding his favorites in literature and music. If you haven’t done so already, stop on by tragedyoftheage and check ’em out. Typically I respond to his posts with my own top ten of the year, but this year I got to thinking since I have my own audience, why not post my top ten here for your reading pleasure?
So without further delay, here are my top ten books of 2009.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This Newbery Winner could be my favorite fantasy book since I wrapped up the Harry Potter series (I’m excluding the Dark Tower series, which trumps everything in every genre for me). This story follows the early life of Nobody Owens, a boy orphaned at a young age and raised in a graveyard by its less than living occupants. I certainly hope Neil Gaiman plans to continue to pen further tales of Nobody Owens in a couple more installments.
The Great American Novel by Philip Roth
I love baseball, but when Jon introduced this book to me and I had to read ten pages of adjectives, I was skeptical. However, it has my favorite baseball monologue this side of ‘Field of Dreams’. “Triples.”
Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
It’s nice to get a nonfiction text in there on occasion. If you’re ever going to try and read anything about astrophysics, Tyson is your guy. He can communicate really deep theoretical concepts in a language that I can understand, but without making me feel like an idiot. I think he’d make a hell of a professor. Or a hell of a rapper.
I bet Kayne West has seen that episode.
Foul Ball by Jim Bouton
Damn the man. Bouton weaves baseball with a tale of how Corporate America is ruining the United States. It’s a cheer-for-the-little-guy kind of narrative/autobiography.
It by Stephen King
If you grew up in a small town you’ll be able to make an irrefutable connection with this novel.
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlen
Science fiction king. I grok.
Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollack
Could be the closest thing to Chuck Palaniuk since… I last read Chuck Palaniuk. You need to either be able to understand or tolerate a warped perspective on life. Knockemstiff, Ohio makes West Virginia look like an all-expense paid trip to Bermuda.
You can say what you want about McCarthy’s new-found pop culture status, but he’s been doing this for a really long time. I learned very quickly at how masterful McCarthy is with the narrative after reading this first book in The Border Trilogy. I never used to buy into that old English professor theory that every single word an author writes is important. However, McCarthy has changed that mindset in me. His story telling/writing style won’t be for everyone, but this is one dammed powerful story once you reach the end. I’m still relatively new to McCarthy and his unconventional writing style, but only three books into his catalog, I couldn’t be more impressed.